Category: England

A special #HistoricalMondays Guest Post | feat. the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne Freeman

Posted Monday, 17 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , 2 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I was hoping to share my ruminations about the third Countess of Harleigh novel with you today, however, the truth of it is I have been reading at a far slower pace recently due to having 3x migraines in 3 weeks and nearly succumbing to a fourth this past weekend. It takes quite a bit out of me to transition out of these more severe migraines (what I refer to as supernovas) and despite my earnest intentions to read on the schedules of my blog tours, sometimes I fall a bit short, which is why I’m going to be featuring a lovely Guest Post by Ms Freeman today and share my review with you about this delightful third novel during my latest #CrimeFicFridays review on the 21st which is the final day of the tour.

I should also mention, I originally was going to interview Ms Freeman about this latest release and tie it back together with the previous two installments as I had previously interviewed her during the first blog tour I hosted of hers wherein I discovered this most charmingly intriguing character and found a wicked new Cosy Historical Mystery series in which to love devouring! I loved this series so dearly much that I also had her as a guest author on my chat @SatBookChat!

However, after having a clustering of severe migraines I simply ran out of time to gather my thoughts and put forth a conversation which would honour the series. I was thankful Ms Freeman didn’t mind switching to a guest post and this topic was one of her choosing. When I read the essay I was quite charmed and think you will be too because it discusses the curious manners of ‘house parties’ and what was keenly interesting is how *structured!* and *regulated!* they were despite the illusion that it was a causal get together amongst friends!

I look forward to sharing more with you at the close of the week but for now, if this is your first introduction to the series, I hope it will whet a thirst of interest to begin reading the stories!

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On why I love reading this series:

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman

Rather immediately, I found myself drawn into the life of Frances – not just because her husband was a cad and a louse of a husband but because of how Ms Freeman endeared us to champion her cause as a woman exiting her mourning period and getting on with her life! It was quite horrid for women in the 19th Century – still attached to that tradition of wearing dearly depressing hues of black and grey (in different increments which were rather strictly enforced!) for at least a year after becoming widowed. It was only then, where she could ‘re-emerge’ into her colours and start to make her presence more widely known in society. How those women managed it, I’ll never know not – as in the case of Frances, it most have truly become a chore knowing her her husband departed his life! Oyy, vie such a rat!

Her in-laws were quite typical – only out for themselves, more concerned with the affairs relating to their estate and less enthused to even entertain a thought of concern over Frances. For her benefit, she was made of stronger stock than they would have believed and she took her daughter (Rose) and herself off to the city to carve out their future elsewhere from the throes of the Harleigh family and the responsibilities therein. Freeman gave you such a hearty and joyful introduction to her character – part of her antics reminded me of why I have such cheeky joy in reading the Anna Blanc series and part of the exchanges also reminded me of my recent over the Discreet Detective Agency – there is something to be said for well-timed satire and humour in the Cosy Historical Mysteries your reading! The appeal of course is being able to burst into giggles alongside the allure of moving deeper into the context of the building mystery!

Of course, not all is ill for Frances – she has enough resources within her means to purchase a least outright for a house which still has eighty years to be lived inside! Imagine? She might have sparse furnishings and staff but something told me her and Rose would thrive here rather than having stayed on with the relatives at the estate. One of my favourite moments is when she bribes one of the maids not to spoilt her news by giving her the chance to make haste and away with her once she moves out. It was a ploy to cover-up the fact she had a bit of a rebellious nature inside her to where she did not like to leave things to fate if there was a loophole round the unknown! Smartly written, Freeman keeps you entertained from one chapter to the next to where it is just a delight to overhear what Frances will say next and what her next actions might be which become the new concerns of the family she’s left behind!

As fate continued to give Frances more headaches than smiles, you had to give it to her – she chose to set her attitude on the positive and despite the arduous circumstances alighting towards her at an alarming speed of haste from her brother-in-law, Frances wouldn’t let her resolve falter. There was much more at stake than inconvenient delays in the normality of her life – no, she simply turnt her chin up with a strength she might not have entirely felt but one which would see her through with the kindness of her friends. This was another instance where you could see how lovely it was for her to have Fiona in her life – the kind of huckleberry friend everyone needs and is blessed to have found.

Part of the joy of reading this series are the layers of etiquette permeating into the fabric of the story-line – fitting for this debut of the series itself as it lends a certain view of the absurdity of tradition these lords and ladies were put through when their era was in its heyday! All the confining points of societal regulations and the fact, you couldn’t just remove yourself from the obligations as that would be lent to scandal and gossip; Freeman takes you through the motions of how frivolous the ton can be and how determined you must become to outwit them all the same! Frances shows this by her unwavering belief that if you lead with strength and a resolve to overcome whatever befalls you, society will either a) move on to the next lead story or b) forget you completely; which I felt was her preference. Frances wasn’t the kind who welcomed notoriety – quite the opposite, I believed she wanted to live a more ordinary life without all the pops and poms of the elevated class.

I was endeared to the plot long before I caught-on to the mysterious events happening in the background – for me, this series is wickedly driven by its characters – specifically everyone related into the  personal orbit and sphere of Frances! You can’t help but feel caught inside her life – seeing how even the most ordinary of lives can suddenly become a feast of trouble yet with a sturdy circle of friends and family; any obstacle can surely become defeated! I must admit, by the time I unearthed the actual crime and the person behind it – I was quite somber! I hadn’t expected the villain in the story to be whom they were as I was expecting it be someone else completely! The way in which Freeman related those finer details of the whys and hows lead me to believe the rest of this series is going to be as charmingly cosy to read as its debut!

-quoted from my review of A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder

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A special #HistoricalMondays Guest Post | feat. the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne FreemanA Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder
Subtitle: A Countess of Harleigh Mystery
by Dianne Freeman
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In Dianne Freeman’s charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister’s wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance.

London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host—or hide—any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily’s imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton’s family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits—shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens.

But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and it’s not simply the arrival of Frances’s socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these “accidents” are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily’s fiancé, Leo. Frances’s mother is unimpressed by Lily’s groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George—a man who loves her for much more than her dowry—she heartily approves of Lily’s choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas.

As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll…

Genres: Historical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Amateur Detective


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496716934

Also by this author: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder, A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder, A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (Author Interview)

Also in this series: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder, A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder


Published by Kensington Books

on 28th July, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

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The Countess of Harleigh Mysteries:

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne FreemanA Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne FreemanA Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder by Dianne Freeman

A Lady’s Guide to Gossip & Murder (book one) | see also review

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette & Murder (book two) | see also review

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief & Murder (book three)

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #CosyMystery OR #Cosy #HistoricalMystery
and #CountessOfHarleighMystery

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

For those on Scribd: Happily the first two audiobooks of this series are available!

About Dianne Freeman

Dianne Freeman

Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She’s been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.

Read More

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Posted Monday, 17 August, 2020 by jorielov in 19th Century, Amateur Detective, Author Guest Post (their topic), Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Lady Detective Fiction, London, Scribd, the Victorian era

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | Celebrating my first read during #AustenInAugust with an ‘inspired by’ Jane Austen Regency Romance: “Josette” by Danielle Thorne!

Posted Saturday, 8 August, 2020 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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Acquired Book By: I receive quite a few lovely review requests throughout the different seasons of the year. Some of the more recent ones (from May-July) were a bit harder to respond to as various authors failed to leave me their contact details whilst at the same time, after searching for them online myself to seek a way to respond to their enquiries – only a few of them had a website. Blessedly – Ms Thorne had a website and I was able to connect with her via her Contact Page.

This is a gentle reminder that if you’re filling out a Review Request form on a book blogger’s blog – kindly include your email address and/or if you know the book blogger is active on Twitter (like I am) – offer your handle so they can DM you. It is the kind of courtesy we appreciate – plus, it goes from moving your request to denied to accepted and in this case, it led to me hosting her three times: two reviews and a guest spot on @SatBookChat.

I received a complimentary copy of “Josette” direct from the author Danielle Thorne in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: This is one of two novels I’ve received from this author. The other title was one of my choosing as this one [His Daughter’s Prayer] was the one she submitted for consideration via my Review Request Page. The other novel is “Josette” – a Jane Austen inspired Historical Romance which I happily marked as my first read for #JaneAustenJuly which became my first read for #AustenInAugust after I was afflicted with severe migraines.

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On why I wanted to read  “Josette”:

It began as a way back into reading Austen,.. during a month readathon called #AustenInAugust…

I have a soft spot in my bookish heart for retellings, sequels and inspired by stories on behalf of the canon of Jane Austen. The trilogy I read and happily had the chance to interview the author after I concluded the series was The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen. This was a recent series I’ve read and reviewed on Jorie Loves A Story – however, I’ve tipped my hat into after canon retellings for “Pride and Prejudice” & “Sense and Sensibility” to name a few. I like to see how the writers will pay homage to the original canon – how did they draw the influence and the inspiration into their own creative work and spin on a classically appealling tale?

When I was offered to make a second selection from Ms Thorne’s collective works – despite the fact I love reading about pirates, I leant more towards wanting to understand ‘Josette’ – from her motivations to her strength to live her life. I felt “Proper Attire” had a storyline which wasn’t going to work for me right now whereas I felt the storyline for ‘Josette’ was a better fit for the stories I had earmarked to read during the celebration of #JaneAustenJuly.

In truth, I’ve been sitting on some after canon stories featuring the style of Jane Austen for a few years now. I also haven’t had the chance to start reading “Mansfield Park” or “Northanger Abbey” – the two lovely stories my parents gifted me whilst I was thrown a 1st Year Blog Birthday party (ie. 6th August, 2014). I felt the timing was a good one for me as after reading ‘Josette’, I was going to be reading ‘Suddenly Mrs Darcy’ before moving into listening to ‘Yuletide’ by the Quill Collective. I love feeling re-inspired to read works of Classical Lit as it has been a long hard road back into the Classics.

As you can note, I was planning to read a select grouping of Jane Austen inspired stories, after canon sequels and/or the two original canon selections I had made to bring my total #JaneAusten reads to 3x – however, my plans were severely impacted by two severe migraines in mid to late July which rendered me offline, unable to read and unable to blog; ergo, I’ve decided to resume my original idea of hosting my own ode to #AustenInAugust as first inspired by Roof Beam Reader’s annual event.

‘Josette’ therefore is my first story to read during #AustenInAugust!

As technically with all my health afflictions, I was never quite able to finish it!

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | Celebrating my first read during #AustenInAugust with an ‘inspired by’ Jane Austen Regency Romance: “Josette” by Danielle Thorne!Josette
Subtitle: A Regency Romance
by Danielle Thorne
Source: Direct from Author

Can she forgive the man who ruined everything and allow herself to love?

Josette sees her future when she gazes across the lawn of Beddingfield Park. That is until brooding Captain Carter rides into her life. Grieving her brother and determined to despise his captain, Josette must decide between marrying a fickle cousin or helping her infatuated sister trap him instead. It's no easy task when Josette's stubborn heart yearns for the sea captain she must not love.

This book is a historical regency novel with family, friendship, sisterhood, and clean romance.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspired by Stories (Author/Book)


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781936167319

Also by this author: His Daughter's Prayer

Published by Whimsical Publications Inc

on 30th April, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 248

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The Jane Austen inspired Regency Romances by Ms Thorne:

Josette
Proper Attire
A Pirate at Pembroke
The Privateer of San Madrid

Converse via: #SaturdaysAreBookish + #HistRom
and/or #HistoricalRomance and #Regency as well as #HarlequinHistorical

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 8 August, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Romance Fiction, the Regency era